It’s the 2005 ESPYs. Actor Matthew Perry is hosting, one year after the end of “Friends.” The Best Male and Female Athlete awards go to Lance Armstrong and Annika Sörenstam.
And the show ends with a performance by Destiny’s Child.
The trio wearing all black and pointed toe pumps are three minutes into “Lose My Breath” when sparks fly from the backdrop. It’s the cue for two athletes in black dresses and matching heels to join them center stage.
Then-six-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams is on the far right, next to Michelle Williams.
And on the left, bordering Kelly Rowland, is Allyson Felix.
At the time, Felix was 19 years old and the owner of one Olympic medal, silver in the 200m from the Athens 2004 Games.
“[Serena and I] were asked to do this little walk-out thing with Destiny’s Child,” Felix said recently. “We were both totally out of our element, like what are we supposed to do exactly? … It’s like, what am I doing up here?”
They spent about 30 seconds strutting and posing as the performance came to a close and Perry re-emerged to dismiss the crowd from Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre.
It marked one of Felix’s first interactions with Serena Williams. They are now so close that Felix and brother Wes sat in Serena’s Wimbledon box at last year’s final at the All England Club.
One member of Destiny’s Child has a different kind of impact on Felix’s career. That’s Beyoncé.
For a 2013 ESPN the Magazine shoot, Felix posed as Beyoncé from the singer’s 2003 debut album, “Dangerously in Love.”
Those memories were conjured when Felix was asked at a U.S. Olympic Committee media summit last week what artist she listens to while warming up for competition.
“For me, it’s very specific,” Felix said among a panel of U.S. Olympic track and field athletes. “I have to listen to Beyoncé, ‘I’m a Diva.’ I have to get that alter ego on. I have to go to that different place. I’m a really laid-back person, but when it comes to the track, gotta switch it on.”
“I don’t consider myself a diva at all, but the song has a bit of an attitude and I inherit that when I step on the track,” Felix said, according to ESPN the Magazine in 2013. “I think about winning and not really caring about anyone else’s feelings and just caring about myself in that moment.”
The 2009 song has been on Felix’s playlist since before she won her first individual Olympic gold medal at London 2012.
“As soon as I heard it, I was like, man, I identify with this,” Felix said. “This is really cool. This one just hit me.”
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